At the request of the countries, a mission from GWP West Africa visited Gambia and Sierra Leone 19-28 September 2011, to follow up on the will expressed in 2009, during the development process of the IWRM roadmap, to set up GWP Country Water Partnerships. Exchanges on the importance of transboundary waters and their management mechanisms such as the UN Convention on International Water Courses were also discussed.
The delegation was comprised of Prof. Aboubacar Awaiss, GWP West Africa Technical Committee Member, and Sidi Coulibaly, Communications Officer.
In Gambia, the will to create a Country Water Partnership is high at the political level expressed both by the Private Secretary of the Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Mr. Amadou Saine, and the Deputy Private Secretary of the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Mr. Sabel Badian Diagne, as well as the assistant director of the Department of Water Resources, Mr. Bernard E. Gomez, in addition to stakeholders who expressed their readiness to work for the establishment of a CWP. A feasibility study on the establishment of a CWP will now take place as the next step in the process.
In Sierra Leone, the GWP West Africa delegation had a series of meetings with government officials such as Prof. Dr. Ogunade Davidson, Minister of Energy and Water Resources and the Deputy Minister, Hon. Martin Alex Bash-Kamara. The Minister expressed that the time was opportune since there are important reforms going on in the water sector with the support of development partners. A well-attended stakeholders meeting was held on 27 September under the patronage of Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Resources, represented by Mr. Conteh, acting Permanent Secretary. A presentation about GWP was made by Sidi Coulibaly which was followed by a presentation on the UN Convention on International Water courses by Prof. Aboubacar Awaiss, who pointed out the importance of transboundary issues in West Africa where most of the river basin are shared and the need to manage them appropriately. The process of the CWP establishment will continue.
These activities are undertaken in the framework of the ACP-EU Project, Improving Water Management and Governance in African Countries through support in development and implementation of IWRM Plans for the establishment of CWPs. This project is implemented by UNEP/DHI-ECOWAS/WRCC and GWP West Africa. The advocacy on the UN Convention is done under the leadership of ECOWAS/WRCC in collaboration with WWF and Green Cross.